Dropping the Ball?

Dropping the Ball?


ARE YOU DROPPING THE BALL? 
Here are three reasons why navigating life’s curveballs may be so hard right now…


On March 24th, my friend Billy and I hosted a webinar called Pivot! How to navigate life’s curveballs… our hope was to lay out the most essential tools any solo-mompreneur needs for her pivot plan, her go-to for when life gets unexpectedly crazy. 


What we didn’t anticipate was the deep, personal, intimate and vulnerable conversation that took place as we shared experiences around life’s curve balls. 


The women who attended shared that curveballs feel more like brick walls, potholes, being shot at from behind. They shared that they produced fear, anxiety, dread, disappointment, intense resentment and bitterness towards the people they loved most. 


As we debriefed later that evening, Billy and I unpacked what was shared and asked, "
Why? Why does it hurt SO much? Why are these balls so hard to catch? Why does it always feel like we are failing while we’re being pounded by curveballs?" 


Here is what we realized: 
On a normal day, most solo-mompreneurs are already drowning. We live in a state of perpetual dread because one curveball and push us under. 

And WHY are so many of us drowning to begin with? 


1. We are overloaded with “priorities” 
Entrepreneurs wear a lot of hats.
Mothers wear a lot of hats. 
Solo-mompreneurs don’t have enough headspace for all of them.  

It is literally impossible for one human being to be attentive to, and to switch between as many tasks and priorities as we have. 


2. We are overloaded with emotions
When we have so much to do, we don’t have any time “to-be”... emotions are tricky because when we cannot be present to what we are feeling and why, we cannot process those feelings. When we cannot process those feelings, they start to accumulate and it's only a matter of time before the dam walls start to burst and we end up in a state of overwhelmed emotional quicksand and paralysis. 


3. We are overloaded, and alone. 
So we are expected to do all the things, carry all the things, tend to all the things… and the assumption is that we should be able to take care of it by ourselves. Anything less is total failure. 


The truth is that the burden of solo-mompreneurship is probably very inhumane.  


We are setting ourselves up for failure because we are starving ourselves of the raw ingredients needed for that kind of capacity and flourishing. We are starved of support and connection. 



If you can resonate with ANY of this, know that no matter how lonely you feel, you are not actually alone in your struggle. In that way we are actually all in this together and we can start by doing a better job of talking about it. 



If you could do with some cathartic conversation, and if you think you need some of those pivot plan tools I mentioned earlier - 
click here to download the replay of that webinar. You’ll be so glad you did. 

Mompreneur Isolation Syndrome.... are you drowning?

Mompreneur Isolation Syndrome.... are you drowning?
Mompreneur Isolation Syndrome?
Are you drowning?

On March 25th, my friend Billy and I hosted a short webinar called Pivot! How to navigate life’s curveballs… and well… it threw us a few curveballs. 

The experience was born from a hunch. A hunch that other solo-mompreneurs were tired, overwhelmed and reaching breaking point - and that any sudden, unexpected change that was outside of their control would derail them and the progress they were working so hard for in their businesses. 


We were spot on. 


We were also completely caught off guard. 


We had no idea how bad it actually is. 


We had no idea how pervasive this problem actually is. 


How deep it runs. 


We had no idea how close many of our friends and colleagues were to their breaking points. 


As 
Billy said last night: One thing became crystal clear; we, as mothers, women & business people, are needing a village around US (not just our kids!) to support us through the unexpected & help us have courage to pivot when needed...For too long, we have been expected to “do it all”… and usually alone, or at least feeling alone, in our struggles.”
 
We are here to change that. We accept the challenge. We heed the call. 

We’re pivoting with the feedback we received, with the pain we bore witness to last night. 

It was a very delicious taster of what’s to come. 

Thank you to all who participated; it was gold, thank you for sharing your sacred treasures with us. 
 
If you missed it, and want to catch up - click here to have the recording sent to you :) 



so I'm calling bullsh*t... (part 1)


So today, I'm doing it, I am calling bullsh*t.

Yes, I said (typed) that out loud.

So throughout my life, my adult life mostly, I've been told that any kind of meaningful, purpose or calling related, passion-driven, ministry-type, helping or helper work... that dedicating your life to that kind of thing is an automatic ticket to burnout, stress and overwhelm.

And that's why I'm calling bullsh*t.

It wasn't my proudest moment but in the aftermath of an emotional meltdown in my early twenties, I sat in the sun with my Bible turned to Matthew 11:28-30. Here's what it says:

"Are you tired, worn out, burnt out on religion, come to me, get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or hit or ill fitting on you keep company with me, and you'll learn to live lightly and freely." (The Message)

And so the message I received when I read that that day was this:

When I am following Christ and learning how to live from him, the exact opposite of my lived experience would be true. That Christ would lead me away from and teach me how to live free of hustle, burnout & overwhelm! (gasp!)

So, if I was in that space (and I was), then I couldn't help but make the following deductions:

1. Either I am not following Jesus at all (in my case I was chasing a religious check-list) 

2. That I was stuck in a rut of working/hustling for love, and not from it (also true for me)

3. That I wasn't paying attention to HOW I was living out my calling and pursuing closeness to God. I had the "what" down, I was doing the things but I wasn't doing them in a way that would preserve me. 

Earlier in Matthew 11, Jesus also said that God would reveal his great wisdom to anyone humble enough to seek it - that the spirit of God would instruct us how to live lightly and freely. 

And it was basically since that moment, right after I thought that I had blew up my entire life that I started to put it back together again - this time I would be dedicated to the pursuit and application of that wisdom I was promised in Matthew 11. 

I nearly died hustling for my worth, I lost so much searching for love and validation in all of the wrong places. 

If what the Bible says is true, and it is: we all have access to a life that is characterized by REST, blessed quiet and renewal for our souls... a life that is free and light... (check out Matthew 11 in the Amplified Bible. 

I created a video about this experience and towards the end I share about a special and very practical tool that I have created  from the wisdom I have gathered specifically for the purpose of cultivating what I call peaceful productivity. 

In the meantime, if you'd like to participate in something I created called "the Peaceful Productivity Challenge" - You can do that by joining the Facebook Community: Support & Solutions for Overwhelmed Heart-Centered Mompreneurs & Leaders


The Mother-Load

The Mother-Load

Last Friday, at the end of a full, exhausting, amazing, frustrating and overstimulating week, I sipped my morning coffee, opened up Facebook and was greeted with a memory from my feed that basically took my best efforts at just keeping it together, and obliterated them.  


Two years ago, I was in a car accident which had left me with months of excruciating pain, daily doctors, chiro and physio appointments, and lots and lots of tears. Shortly after that, Noah (my then 3 year old) had an accident in which he fell nearly 5ft, face-first, into a concrete floor, snapping his jaw, and breaking it cleanly in two places (don’t even ask). 


18 months after immigrating to the United States from South Africa, I found myself plunged into a season in which I was working” from home (who are we kidding?) with a 3 and a 4 year old, in pain that was so severe that for weeks I could barely get out of bed or off the couch, at daily physio appointments that left me reeling, with a three year old who couldn’t eat, no money for childcare, increasingly crippling anxiety and, with no family nearby to lend a hand or do the things that families do when mothers can’t move, or spend all day crying. 


It wasn’t ideal. 


It was also completely disorienting: our lives had turned upside down overnight and I felt completely unprepared and ill-equipped to just take it all in my stride. I thrived on being the mommy who was pretty resilient, a pillar of strength, competent, completed her to-do lists, and quite frankly, whose needs didn’t intrude too much (at all) on the people around her. When that car hit ours and a month later, when my son’s face hit the floor, I morphed from that “powerhouse of a woman” (again, who are we kidding?) into “hotmess-express-mommy”,  “mommy-who-just-cries-a-lot”, “mommy-who-is-always-in-pain”, “mommy-who-can’t-do-the-things” (any of them), and “mommy-who-always-feels-scared-and-anxious”. What a resume!


I had spent my entire adult life cultivating, maintaining and worshipping that superwoman (and later mom) idea/idol, and relishing in her strength, capacity and ability to be the helper. Now, she was gone - and all that was left was a mountain of anxiety, shame, fear and frustration as I navigated a season of life I had not planned or prepared for, could not control, master or see beyond, and all of it just shouted: inadequate, failure, not enough. Sure enough, the waves of shame, anxiety and fear came rolling in.


So not too different to the Spring of 2020. 


Here’s what many of us tend to do when we’re feeling that kind of overwhelm, inadequacy, and vulnerability: 


We turn away from the people (and the love) we need, and who need us more than ever. We choose busyness, distraction, to-do lists, screens and shallow. 


Or we turn towards them, but in a mask and full armour. We choose posturing on social media, increased irritability, frustration and anger (because we aren’t in control or getting our way), pretending and being overbearing. (this is me by the way) 


Both are a way that we choose darkness and isolation rather than exposure, light, and connection: being seen for all of our glorious mess, weakness and ineptitude. 


Two years ago, during my impossible season, even though we were literally spending every single moment of the day together (for months), I started to realize that my inadequacy allergy (or simply my sin of pride) became a tendency towards masks and armor, and was cutting me off from my children when they needed me, and when I needed them most. I realized that I was also teaching them that doing was more important than being, unless we were being perfect, and to hide their pain and weakness from the people who loved them most.


I noticed that even though we had unending proximity, shared DNA, and the same last name, that we were heading down a path that was setting our family up for isolation (from one another and others). When we needed one another, or others most, we turned away and called it self-care. We started to see that we literally left everything we had and knew to build community with strangers on the other side of the world, we were failing to forge it in our own home.  


That season taught me to embrace humility, to turn towards my children in my weakness, and to create space for them to turn towards me. I learnt that children have a remarkable capacity for compassion and empathy, and that they can minister generously and gently to the hearts of their parents (and others) if we give them opportunities and permission to do so. I learnt that childlike faith prayed the best prayers, and that I need to lean into “my grace sufficient for you, and my power is perfected in weakness” and that it can apply to a 4 year old too (they are actually the best teachers for this one!). I learnt that when I invited my children to sit in the front row of this battle, to walk alongside me, to contribute their gifts, their fishes and their loaves, that they would also be right there when God showed up, answered prayers, and proved his faithfulness. I learnt that my children would start collecting and telling their own faith stories. 


Recalling that memory made me weep; It was the hardest season of my life. But what a sweet reminder of the grace that carries us, that is sufficient for us in our weakness, and that by it, we have hope for weathering the storm that brews around us today. 


I am worried about the almost impossible burden of motherhood, in addition to all the other pain, grief and worry over COVID-19. I am concerned that in the wake of what truly is a heavy and exhausting load we have been given to carry, that we will turn to either pride or despair, posturing and pretending, that we will turn away in our (inevitable) failure and shame, and isolate the ones who need us, and who we need most. 




As we stand on the edge of what may feel like a dark, uncertain and difficult future, may I invite you to consider God’s faithfulness in the dark and painful seasons of your life you weren’t sure you would survive? 


In moments when pride, self-comfort, distraction, armor and masks feel safe and tempting, may I also invite you to consider spending your days humbly turning toward your children rather than away from them? 


On days when you feel inadequate, when you have zero idea what you are or should be doing, may I invite you to remember that you were chosen as a gift and provision for them mama, that they were chosen for you and that his grace is sufficient, and that his power is perfected in all of your weakness? 


When the hard and heavy burden of mothering during COVID-19 becomes unbearable, impossible and exhausting, may I invite you to remember that He invites his disciples into days marked by the unforced rhythms of grace  and rest, and that the yoke he offers you is easy and light?


When isolation is the easier path, may I invite you to consider forging and leaning into life- giving and soul-restoring community, not just with your life group or faith community, but with your babies as well? 


When hope feels far away, may I invite you to recall that all of your and their days have been recorded, that all of your and their hairs are numbered, and that maybe just maybe you and they were born for this moment in history, and for the glory of God?


I have been spending a lot of time thinking and praying about what I want my children to remember about this moment in history, and about what God wants to do or forge during this (pretty intense, and frankly seemingly unending) time together. As I do, I often think about how the people of God, as they traveled through the wilderness towards the promised land would commemorate the faithfulness of God with physical memorials that they would build together and then generations later, would remind them about who God is, and the things God had done.  My prayer for my own children, and for yours is that somehow, somewhere, the memories of this season would one day tower over their lives as a memorial to first-hand accounts of the goodness, faithfulness, love and power of God through his people. 


I am tempted at this point to provide you with a checklist because I know how much they satiate our anxiety and desire for control, but I am not sure how a checklist would ensure a change in the posture of our hearts. Turn towards the Lord, speak to your friends and your spouse, confess your struggle or your sin.

  

Turning towards your littles could mean putting your phone down and putting a movie on. It could mean turning the TV off and going for a walk. It could mean burning the schedule or instituting one. It could mean switching off the news or it could mean serving your neighbors together. It could mean becoming a human playground or it could mean instituting a daily house-wide quiet time. Whatever you do, do it not to avoid being seen, but because you ARE, and loved still. 


“Now may the LORD of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The LORD be with all of you.” - 2 Thess 3:16



If any of this resonated with you, you will probably love my "Simple Steps to Creating Calm". Check it out right here.